azurite: Life is short, talk fast (life is short talk fast)
[personal profile] azurite
Every time I go away from Dreamwidth blogging for a while, Dreamwidth goes and gets more awesome. I decided to nix my Premium account because even though I love the site and service, I was using it so rarely I couldn't justify the expense, especially when I've got my own domain and am often trying to post to my various WordPress-powered blogs on sites there.

The problem is, my sites are so new, so thin on content, that I don't have that built-in community.

This gets crossposted to LiveJournal, and why? Well, LJ has been around even longer than Dreamwidth, but LJ also had so so so many issues when Six Apart sold it (even before that, when Brad sold it to Six Apart). I really didn't like a lot of those changes, and I saw a lot of my fellow LJers move over to Dreamwidth. The communities sometimes followed, but not always.

I have a permanent account on LJ, which means it's not supposed to go anywhere, ever. Theoretically, all the interconnected services there are these days should mean that it's EASIER to cross-post and always stay up-to-date, but the real experience of LJ and DW are the Friends List/Reading Page, and these days, if I'm reading anything for a prolonged period of time, it's Facebook. Yes, there are fan communities there too, but it's very much NOT the same.

I never really divided my fandom self from my "real" self-- I'm not afraid to tell people who I am on Facebook or deviantArt or wherever, and I've never particularly cared about "IRL" friends or family finding out about my fandom activities.

"Judge not, lest ye be judged" I guess.

I don't really go onto Reddit since the scandal with Ellen Pao, I'm very intermittently on Tumblr, and I'll go onto other sites (FFnet, Archive of Our Own) when I want to go on a fanfic binge. Community interaction varies from place to place... what happens on LJ or DW is very different than Facebook, Twitter, or the other "major" social networks.

I'm obviously a very wordy person, so Twitter isn't usually my thing, even though I have two accounts (one personal and one "fandom" or "fun"), so as a result, I don't actually get many @ replies or anything like that.

Nostalgia can't be enough to keep people (like me) regularly using a social media network or site. So why am I back?

In a nutshell:
* Want to check out all the cool new features on DW
* Want to see whether LJ has truly gone down the drain or not
* Want to get involved again with fandom, and see what communities are still alive and kicking, without necessarily getting over my head by volunteering to mod or co-mod a ton of communities myself
* Want to get writing again, and get help with said writing

To the latter point, I've been blocked for my favorite fanfic ("What Doesn't Kill You"), in my favorite fandom (Yu-Gi-Oh!) and for my favorite pairing (Seto Kaiba x Anzu Mazaki), for almost six years. The chapter that I was most excited to write (Chapter 27) --the one that kicks off an arc (Orichalcos Saga) I was so eager about, I hinted it repeatedly in prior chapters, with fanart, etc.--ended up sticking me because I couldn't write a duel to save my life.

I went through numerous betas who helped me up until that point, but I couldn't have/ask any of them to write the duel for me--I had to do it myself. And when I didn't, and I kept failing to deliver, we lost contact. I'm not even sure if any of them are still in fandom (I hope they are)!

Eventually, I got into a relationship, and eventually in that relationship, I trusted my boyfriend enough to reveal my fandom preferences to him, and "let" him read my fanfiction. Turns out he became a fan too, and is now basically my editor, beta, and cheerleader all in one.

I've set several goals to get the chapter done after I finally broke through my writer's block by just physically removing myself from all my usual distractions, and writing in a totally different, mostly-disconnected environment--the study room at my apartment complex.

I was able to write 10 whole pages of a brand new, original fiction for my writer's group. That, in turn, got me working on my fanfiction again, but I got stuck again, partway through the troublesome duel that started this whole thing.

I eventually got my hands on the "Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of Light" movie novelization translation--well, a quasi-translation, one that was readable, at the very least. In its own way, it was revealing (information that wasn't shown in the movie as it was presented Stateside; did you know that the Japanese anime is something like 18 minutes longer than the American theatrical release?), and also inspiring for the ways duels can be written.

That also helped, but...the duel wouldn't write itself. Not that I expected it to.

What ended up happening is that I got YET ANOTHER GOOD IDEA, and unlike all the other good ideas that I just relegate to an Evernote note as an outline full of bullet points and random ideas for scenes or quotes, this one I actually started writing.

It just flowed, for about two or three days, before I realized: "Where the heck am I going with this?" Was I going to make it a oneshot? How long of a oneshot? Or would it be a three-parter, just because the title seemed to indicate it would be appropriate? What would the three chapters be, if I did go that route? Would it have to do with the three sisters, one of which is the star of the story; would it have to do with the three main characters? Or something else? It's not like there's a lack of triads in various cultures.

I read an excellent oneshot that I reviewed and summarized as basically "satisfying," because it had exposition at the beginning to set up the pairing, introduced a conflict through dialogue, and resolved it through action and more dialogue. There was the CHANCE that the story could continue or be expanded--and that's always my temptation, to go into the nitty-gritty and really dig into the "how" and the "why" of situations--not just the fact that Seto and Anzu/Téa are together, but HOW and WHY. But the author didn't do that, and I was still perfectly okay with that.

The question is: how do I do that as a writer? How do I feel satisfied?

There was a time when I wrote a oneshot to a specific idea for a different fandom. It answered the question (as I feel all fanfics do; they answer a question that begins with "What if?") "What would Usagi from Sailor Moon do if she received a letter indicating she had a son?"

Of course, like any good "what if?" question, that spawns a whole bunch of other questions:

  • Why would Usagi receive a letter?

  • How would she not know she had a son?

  • How can she have a son; isn't she supposed to only have a daughter: Chibiusa?

  • At what point in the series (90s anime, manga, or Crystal) would this take place?

  • Who else would find out?

  • What would their reaction be?

  • What will Usagi do in response to the letter?



Of course, I could have gone off and answered all of those questions in minute detail, but I focused mainly on Usagi's reaction, decision to act, and who else she interacted with in the meantime. I, as a writer, felt satisfied when I had answered those questions as simply as possible, and left it up to the reader to wonder what would happen AFTER Usagi's action-- what she did as a REACTION to her feelings upon reading the letter and sharing it with someone else.

I would really like to put my current writing out there again, get feedback on it (from someone other than my boyfriend, of course), but I don't know why I can't seem to find a good place to STOP. Even if I make the oneshot I just started free-writing, based off an old idea that got renewed (by a crazy, unrelated, single episode in a totally different show, no less) into a three-part story, where do I stop the chapter? I don't know.

I did receive the suggestion once to just put a "teaser" up to see what people's reactions are, to satisfy that need to get my work out there and get some feedback to motivate me into continuing, churning those ideas out again, but again: where do I stop?

How do you decide?

January 2016

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